Live Review: Washed Out

16 Aug


Haunt: Wednesday, August 10 2011

If, like me, the music media tag ‘chillwave’ makes you want to kick a child, then there’s a chance the talents of one its pioneers, Ernest Greene, aka Washed Out, have passed you by.

Not only does ‘chillwave’ sounds like the music of choice for people who are one stressful day away from buying a panpipes CD, but it’s also woefully inadequate when it comes to describing Washed Out’s bolshie live sound. This wasn’t laid-back, it was a heady, intoxicating mix of Balearic beats and booms, polished samples and enchanting vocals.

For someone who once doubted if his admittedly hazy bedroom-created songs could successfully be played live, on stage Greene is full of energy and confidence as he and his band genre-hop at will and brazenly mash together influences.

There’s a reggae-centred number which fuses a mass of clattering cymbals with a louche, looping rhythm, a cast-iron dance anthem which morphs into an 80s Springsteen-style finale (don’t knock it until you’ve danced to it), and a hip shaking stomper that sounds like the Pet Shop Boys having a late-night scuffle with OMD before Underworld put the boot in and finish them both off.

There’s also a couple of fuzzed-up, floor-fillers with hooks so sharp they’d snare the most jaded, worn-out raver at five in the morning and a thudding final track which appears to have kidnapped the tune of Dubstar’s Not So Manic Now and pumped it full of Red Bull.

They’ve nailed their live act, let’s hope they can one day capture its energy and fun in the studio too.


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